The New York Yankees are closing in on signing a front-of-the rotation starting pitcher in the prime of his career.
And as a die-hard Yankee fan, I’m not all that excited about it.
Capt. Buzzkill reporting for duty.
I hate to rain on everyone’s parade. And I know most Yankee fans are excited about this seven-year, $160 million contract the Bronx Bombers have offered C.C. Sabathia that is all but signed. Heck, deep down I’m happy that the Yanks are close to obtaining a starting pitcher that they desperately need.
However, the better part of me is a little worried. I’m cautiously optimistic at best. I am not concerned about the money aspect of the deal. The Yankees are one of the few teams in the league that can afford to eat bad contracts (read: Pavano, Carl). It’s not about the money, I am more concerned about the years committed and how is Sabathia is going to peform. Here are few reasons why:
1) I’m not sure how much he wanted to come to the Bronx. The Yankees offered Sabathia a six-year, $140 million contract more than a month ago. He didn’t sign on the dotted line right away because he had a desire to pitch on the west coast and stay in the National League, and wanted to see if that opportunity was out there. That’s fair enough, but as it became apparent that he wasn’t going to do that, why did he wait so long to sign on with the Yankees? Did he hold off to see if the Yanks would throw in more money? Well they did. So now, the Yankees are going to be counting on a guy whose heart may not truly be in it, but he came here because the Yanks were the highest bidder. There are enough mercenaries on this team already; no they need another one trying to carry their rotation?
2) I’m worried that he won’t be able to do it in the American League. I know he won 19 games and won the AL Cy Young Award in 2007, but he had a really rough go of it in the beginning of the ’08 with the Indians. He went 1-4 and April, and battled to a 6-8 record before he was traded to the Brewers. He didn’t return to form until he started pitching in the less hitting-rich National League. Chances are he’ll carry the momentum he gained last year to the Yanks’ 2009 campaign, but just thinking about his rough start last year scares me—just a little.
3) Kevin Brown, Javier Vasquez, Jose Contreras and Carl Pavano. Do I need to say more? All of these guys were busts and brought here under general manager Brian Cashman’s watch. Granted, Sabathia is better than all of these guys, but what if the New York pressure gets to him and he goes belly-up like the rest of these guys? Keep in mind Cashman hasn’t made a solid starting pitcher free agent signing since he got Mike Mussina to come to New York—and that was eight years ago.
4) The Yankees claim to be about winning in October, and C.C. hasn’t done that too much of that. He was bad in his lone postseason start last year, but I’ll give him a pass. He was pitching his fourth straight start on three days’ rest; it was no shock to me that he couldn’t get out of the fourth inning. In 2007, he had three starts and wasn’t good in any of them. Even in his win against the Yankees in the ALDS, he didn’t get out of the fifth inning and threw 114 pitches. In the ALCS against the Red Sox that year, he was even worse. He went 0-2 in his two starts and only pitched 10.1 innings. The Yankees want to put their quest for a 27th World Series title on the shoulders of a guy who has yet to prove he can win in the playoffs?
And the main reason this signing worries me….
5) Bill Simmons wanted it to happen. ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons, AKA “The Sports Guy” has been rooting for the Yankees to sign the big guy for months now. Whether you like Simmons’ opinions or you hate them, you have to admit that there are few bigger Sox fans out there than him. Now why in the world would a big Red Sox fan be happy that his teams arch-rival signed a heavily-coveted starting pitcher who’s just a year removed from winning a Cy Young Award. I’m just saying…
Look, chances are this works out and he has the type of career that Mike Mussina had when he signed with the Yankees. It’s just that I have enough doubt to worry about it going splat. I think it’s because I want this to work out so badly it’s to the point that I’m afraid that it won’t. Between the Bombers not making the playoffs in their last season at Yankee Stadium this year and the tragedy that was the 2004 ALCS, I can’t take anymore embarrassment from this team.
See you all at the New Yankee Stadium this spring. I’ll be the one with my fingers crossed hoping this deal works out for the best.
So, what do you all think? Are you excited for Sabathia to be a Yankee, or are just as worried as I am? Comment below!
Joe Dyton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org